An often overlooked opportunity to promote your business is sitting right in front of you on your desk. It’s your telephone. I’m not talking about how you use your phone to reach or greet your customers, but rather how you use it to market to potential customers who are calling you.
What do your customers hear when they’re put on hold?
Neither you nor your prospects get anything of value when your customers are left listening to music… and having them listen to a radio station isn’t much better. Chances are they’re not even hearing music, just commercials. Worse still, they may end up hearing a commercial for a competitor! Putting callers on hold and leaving them in complete silence can leave them thinking they’ve been disconnected and they’ll hang up.
If you’re not using your “music-on-hold” system to promote your business, you’re missing out on significant relationship-building opportunities.
Maybe in the past you played with the idea of having a custom “on-hold” message, but figured it’d be too hard to set up or too expensive, but these days nothing could be further from the truth!
There is a vast selection of top-quality “on-hold” message systems available for businesses of all sizes and budgets. You can compare features and prices at just about any major brick-and-mortar electronics store, as well as on dozens of “music-on-hold” websites.
The custom options for “on-hold” messages can be summed up in two words—variety and affordability. There are “bare bones” setups starting around $50, all the way up to multi-line, multi-message units designed for larger companies.
If you’re a mom-and-pop-size business, then an entry-level single-line, music-on-hold unit may be enough for you. These can be used by anyone wanting to provide music or custom messages to callers placed on hold. Just plug in your phone line from the wall, your single-line telephone, and a sound source (CD player, MP3 player, computer sound card). To place callers on hold, just push a button; to remove hold, push button again. It’s that simple.
Digital “on-hold” players are great because you don’t have to worry about wear and tear on your tape-recorded message—it’s stored on a digital memory chip. It will sound exactly the same even after a year or more of playing to your callers. And again, many units let you use your own audio source like a CD player, an MP3 player, or your computer. And if there’s a power outage, most digital units automatically reload when power is restored.
Some equipment for “on-hold” systems you can purchase, others you lease under contract. Be careful leasing though, as with some companies you may end up paying much more for that player over time than it’s actually worth. Costs vary with the systems and your requirements. Some “on-hold” companies have subscriptions that require a monthly payment (even if you only update your message once a year); others let you purchase a one-time program with nothing more to buy. Word to the wise… do your research.
Technology options aside, the most important part of your “on-hold” system is the message.
I’m sure you already know this, but just as a reminder, content is king, so it’s important that you craft an informative, benefit-driven marketing message for your “on-hold” audio. Messages should be about 10 to 30 seconds long and mention the benefits/solutions your business provides.
I recommend recording a loop of two or three different “messages,” each separated by music. This way you’ll have a variety of messages for callers to hear, reducing the chances of them always hearing the same recording.
Make sure your recordings are fast-paced, to the point, and dynamic (like a real conversation and not a robot reading from a script!). Other points to keep in mind include:
- Assure prospects that a representative will be with them as soon as possible.
- Every message should end with a quick statement of appreciation for the customer’s call.
- Change your messages periodically. If you offer special promotions and sales that change frequently, you’ll need to update often. Change your “on-hold” message at least once a year.
There are hundreds of “music-on-hold” companies online that for a fee can sell you the equipment, help you write your script, provide the voiceover talent and help you find the right music too. You can visit their websites and listen to samples of “on-hold” messages to get an idea of what you need.
There will always be times when you have to put a customer on hold, but there’s no reason why it can’t be a win-win situation for you and your prospect. If they’ve got to be on hold, don’t waste their time playing music or commercials for other businesses.
Whether you go the “do-it-yourself” route or pay a professional service to create your messages, the important thing to understand is that you definitely need a custom “music-on-hold” system as part of your relationship-building and marketing program.
If you’re still not convinced, let me leave you with this: one recent telephone marketing survey showed that custom “on-hold” message systems can increase sales by as much as 26%.
Wouldn’t a double-digit sales increase make your day? If you want to hear the Prime Concepts Group on hold marketing message just call us. Of course, it’s our goal to make sure that you aren’t on hold very long, if at all, in the first place, but when you are, you get helpful information that makes the time on hold speed by…
What do you think? Post your comments below.